Skip to main content

Interaction of Cognitive Avoidance Coping and Stress in Predicting Depression/Anxiety

Abstract

This study investigated (1) the moderating effects of gender and cognitive avoidance coping on the negative life events–depressive/anxious symptoms relationship, and (2) the validity of the cognitive avoidance coping construct. One hundred seventy-nine men and women completed the Coping Responses Inventory (CRI), Negative Life Events Questionnaire, and Beck Depression and Anxiety Inventories at Time 1 and, 3 weeks later, at Time 2. A confirmatory factor analysis of the four CRI Avoidant Coping subscales revealed that a two-factor model, comprising Cognitive and Behavioral Avoidance Coping, was superior to the one-factor model composed of Avoidant Coping. Multiple regression analyses revealed that high negative life event scores were predictive of significant increases in symptoms among females who endorsed greater use of cognitive avoidance coping, but not among males. Behavioral avoidance coping was unrelated to changes in depressive and anxious symptoms.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

REFERENCES

  • Aldwin, C. A., & Revenson, T. A. (1987). Does coping help? A reexamination of the relation between coping and mental health. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 53, 337-348.

    Google Scholar 

  • Alloy, L. B., & Clements, C. M. (1992). Invulnerability to negative affect and depressive symptoms after laboratory and natural stressors. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 101, 234-245.

    Google Scholar 

  • Auerbach, S. M. (1989). Stress management and coping research in the health care setting: An overview and methodological commentary. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 57, 388-395.

    Google Scholar 

  • Barnett, P. A., & Gotlib, I. H. (1990). Cognitive vulnerability to depressive symptoms among men and women. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 14, 47-61.

    Google Scholar 

  • Beck, A. T., Epstein, N., Brown, G., & Steer, R. (1988). An inventory for measuring clinical anxiety: Psychometric properties. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 56, 893-897.

    Google Scholar 

  • Beck, A. T., Rush, A. J., Shaw, B. F., & Emery, G. (1979). Cognitive therapy of depression. New York: Guilford Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Beck, A. T., & Steer, R. A. (1987). Manual for the revised Beck Depression Inventory. San Antonio, TX: Psychological Corporation.

    Google Scholar 

  • Beck, A. T., Steer, R., & Garbin, M. (1988). Psychometric properties of the Beck Depression Inventory: 25 years of evaluation. Clinical Psychology Review, 8, 77-100.

    Google Scholar 

  • Beck, A. T., Ward, C. H., Mendelson, M., Mock, J., & Erbaugh, J. (1961). An inventory for measuring depression. Archives of General Psychiatry, 4, 561-571.

    Google Scholar 

  • Benson, J., & Hagtvet, K. A. (1996). The interplay among design, data analysis, and theory in the measurement of coping. In M. Zeidner & N. S. Endler (Eds.), Handbook of coping: Theory, research, applications (pp. 83-106). New York: Wiley.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ben-Zur, H., & Zeidner, M. (1996). Gender differences in coping reactions under community crisis and daily routine conditions. Personality and Individual Differences, 20, 331-340.

    Google Scholar 

  • Billings, A. G., & Moos, R. H. (1981). The role of coping responses and social resources in attenuating the stress of life events. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 4, 139-157.

    Google Scholar 

  • Billings, A. G., & Moos, R. H. (1985). Psychosocial process of remission in unipolar depression: Comparing depressed patients with matched community controls. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 53, 314-325.

    Google Scholar 

  • Burda, P. C., Vaux, A., & Schill, T. (1984). Social support resources: Variation across sex and sex role. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 10, 119-126.

    Google Scholar 

  • Butler, T., Giordano, S., & Neren, S. (1985). Gender and sex-role attributes as predictors of utilization of natural support systems during personal stress events. Sex Roles, 13, 515-524.

    Google Scholar 

  • Byrne, B. (1989). A primer for LISREL. New York: Springer-Verlag.

    Google Scholar 

  • Carver, C. S., Pozo, C., Harris, S. D., Noriega, V., Scheier, M. F., Robinson, D. S., Ketcham, A. S., Moffat, F. L., & Clark, K. C. (1993). How coping mediates the effect of optimism on distress: A study of women with early stage breast cancer. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 65, 375-390.

    Google Scholar 

  • Carver, C. S., & Scheier, M. F. (1994). Situational coping and coping dispositions in a stressful transaction. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 66, 184-195.

    Google Scholar 

  • Carver, C. S., Scheier, M. F., & Weintraub, J. K. (1989). Assessing coping strategies: A theoretically based approach. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 56, 267-283.

    Google Scholar 

  • Chan, D. W. (1992). Coping with depressed mood among Chinese medical students in Hong Kong. Journal of Affective Disorders, 24, 109-116.

    Google Scholar 

  • Clark, L. A., & Watson, D. (1991). Tripartite model of anxiety and depression: Psychometric evidence and taxonomic implications. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 100, 316-336.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cohen, J., & Cohen, P. (1983). Applied multiple regression/correlation analysis for the behavioral sciences (2nd ed.). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cook, J. R. (1985). Repression-sensitization and approach-avoidance as predictors of response to laboratory stressor. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 49, 759-773.

    Google Scholar 

  • Coyne, J. C. (1994). Self-reported distress: Analog or ersatz depression? Psychological Bulletin, 116, 29-45.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cronkite, R. C., & Moos, R. H. (1984). The role of predisposing and moderating factors in the stress-illness relationship. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 25, 372-393.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cronkite, R. C., & Moos, R. H. (1995). Life context, coping processes, and depression. In E. E. Beckham & W. R. Leber (Eds.), Handbook of depression (pp. 569-587). New York: Guilford Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • De Ridder, D. (1997). What is wrong with coping assessment? A review of conceptual and methodological issues. Psychology and Health, 12, 417-431.

    Google Scholar 

  • Dohrenwend, B. S., & Dohrenwend, B. P. (Eds.). (1981). Stressful life events and their contexts. New York: Neale Watson Academic Publications.

    Google Scholar 

  • Eisler, R. M., & Blalock, J. A. (1991). Masculine gender role stress: Implications for the assessment of men. Clinical Psychology Review, 11, 45-60.

    Google Scholar 

  • Folkman, S. (1992). Making the case for coping. In B. D. Carpenter (Ed.), Personal coping: Theory, research, and application (pp. 31-46). Westport, CT: Praeger.

    Google Scholar 

  • Folkman, S., & Chesney, M. (1995). Chronic diseases: Perspective in behavioral medicine (p. 122). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

    Google Scholar 

  • Folkman, S., Chesney, M., Pollack, L., & Coates, T. (1993). Stress, control, coping, and depressive mood in human immunodeficiency virus-positive and-negative gay men in San Francisco. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 181, 409-416.

    Google Scholar 

  • Folkman, S., & Lazarus, R. S. (1980). An analysis of coping in a middle-aged community sample. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 21, 219-239.

    Google Scholar 

  • Folkman, S., & Lazarus, R. S. (1985). If it changes it must be a process: Study of emotion and coping during three stages of a college examination. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 48, 150-170.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hammen, C., Ellicott, A., Gitlin, M., & Jamison, K. R. (1989). Sociotropy/autonomy and vulnerability to specific life events in patients with unipolar depression and bipolar disorders. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 98, 154-160.

    Google Scholar 

  • Harrigan, J. A., Suarez, I., & Hartman, J. S. (1994). Effect of speech errors on observers' judgments of anxious and defensive individuals. Journal of Research on Personality, 28, 505-529.

    Google Scholar 

  • Holahan, C. J., & Moos, R. H. (1986). Personality, coping, and family resources in stress resistance: A longitudinal analysis. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 51, 389-395.

    Google Scholar 

  • Holahan, C. J., & Moos, R. H. (1987a). Personal and contextual determinants of coping strategies. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 52, 946-955.

    Google Scholar 

  • Holahan, C. J., & Moos, R. H. (1987b). Risk, resistance, and psychological distress: A longitudinal analysis with adults and children. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 96, 3-13.

    Google Scholar 

  • Holahan, C. J., & Moos, R. H. (1990). Life stressors, resistance factors, and improved psychological functioning: An extension of the stress resistance paradigm. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 58, 909-917.

    Google Scholar 

  • Holahan, C. J., & Moos, R. H. (1991). Life stressors, personal and social resources, and depression: A 4-year structural model. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 100, 31-38.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hollon, S. D., Kendall, P. C., & Lumry, A. (1986). Specificity of depressotypic cognitions in clinical depression. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 95, 52-59.

    Google Scholar 

  • Joiner, T. E., Jr. (1994a). Contagious depression: Existence, specificity to depressed symptoms, and the role of reassurance-seeking. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 67, 287-296.

    Google Scholar 

  • Joiner, T. E., Jr. (1994b). Covariance of baseline symptom scores in prediction of future symptoms scores: A methodological note. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 18, 497-504.

    Google Scholar 

  • Joiner, T. E., Jr. (1995). [Confirmatory factor analysis of the CRI Avoidant Coping subscale in 250 undergraduates]. Unpublished raw data.

  • Joiner, T. E., Jr., & Rudd, M. D. (1996). Toward a categorization of depression-related constructs. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 20, 51-68.

    Google Scholar 

  • Joreskog, K., & Sorbom, D. (1989). LISREL 7: A guide to the program and applications (2nd ed.). Chicago: Statistical Package for Social Sciences.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kendall, P. C., Hollon, S. D., Beck, A. T., Hammen, C. L., & Ingram, R. E. (1987). Issues and recommendations regarding use of the Beck Depression Inventory. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 11, 289-299.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kessler, R. C., McGonagle, K. A., Nelson, C. B., Hughes, M., Swartz, M., & Blazer, D. G. (1994). Sex and depression in the National Comorbidity Survey. II: Cohort effects. Journal of Affective Disorders, 30, 15-26.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kessler, R. C., McGonagle, K. A., Swartz, M., Blazer, D. G., & Nelson, C. B. (1993). Sex and depression in the National Comorbidity Survey. I: Lifetime prevalence, chronicity and recurrence. Journal of Affective Disorders, 29, 85-96.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kessler, R. C., McLeod, J. D., & Wethington, E. (1985). The costs of sharing: A perspective on the relationship between sex and psychological distress. In I. G. Sarason & B. R. Sarason (Eds.), Social support: Theory, research, and applications (pp. 409-506). The Hague, The Netherlands: Martinus Nijhof.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lamke, L. K. (1982). The impact of sex-role orientation on self-esteem in early adolescence. Child Development, 53, 1530-1535.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lazarus, R. S. (1996). The role of coping in the emotions and how coping changes over the life course. In C. Magai, & S. H. McFadden (Eds.), Handbook of emotion, adult development, and aging (pp. 289-306). San Diego: Academic Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Matthews, G., & Wells, A. (1996). Attentional processes, dysfunctional coping, and clinical intervention. In M. Zeidner, & N. S. Endler (Eds.), Handbook of coping: Theory, research, applications (pp. 573-601). New York: Wiley.

    Google Scholar 

  • McClain, L., & Abramson, L. Y. (1988). Self-schemas and life events as predictors of depression. Unpublished manuscript.

  • Merikangas, K. R., Weissman, M. M., & Pauls, D. L. (1985). Genetic factors in the sex ratio of major depression. Psychological Medicine, 15, 63-69.

    Google Scholar 

  • Metalsky, G. I., & Joiner, T. E., Jr. (1992). Vulnerability to depressive symptomatology: A prospective test of the diathesis-stress and causal mediation components of the hopelessness theory of depression. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 63, 667-675.

    Google Scholar 

  • Metalsky, G. I., Joiner, T. E., Jr., Hardin, T. S., & Abramson, L. Y. (1993). Depressive reactions in a naturalistic setting: A test of the hopelessness and self-esteem theories of depression. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 102, 101-109.

    Google Scholar 

  • Moos, R. H. (1988). Coping Responses Inventory manual. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University and Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Centers.

    Google Scholar 

  • Moos, R. H., & Schaefer, J. (1984). The crisis of physical illness: An overview and conceptual approach. In R. H. Moos (Ed.), Coping with physical illnesses: New directions (pp. 3-25). New York: Plenum.

    Google Scholar 

  • Moos, R. H., & Schaefer, J. A. (1993). Coping resources and processes: Current concepts and measures. In L. Goldberger & S. Breznitz (Eds.), Handbook of stress: Theoretical and clinical aspects (2nd ed., pp. 234-257). New York: Free Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Needles, D. J., & Abramson, L. Y. (1990). Positive life events, attributional style, and hopelessness: Testing a model of recovery from depression. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 99, 156-165.

    Google Scholar 

  • Parker, J. D. A., & Endler, N. S. (1992). Coping with coping assessment: A critical review. European Journal of Personality, 6, 321-344.

    Google Scholar 

  • Parkes, K. (1994). Personality and coping as moderators of work stress processes: Models, methods and measures. Work and Stress, 8, 110-129.

    Google Scholar 

  • Pearlin, L. I., Lieberman, M. A., Menaghan, E. G., & Mullan, J. T. (1981). The stress process. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 22, 337-356.

    Google Scholar 

  • Pearlin, L. I., & Schooler, C. (1978). The structure of coping. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 19, 2-21.

    Google Scholar 

  • Porter, L. S., & Stone, A. A. (1995). Are there really gender differences in coping? A reconsideration of previous data and results from a daily study. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 14, 184-202.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ptacek, J. T., Smith, R. E., & Dodge, K. L. (1994). Gender differences in coping with stress: When stressor and appraisals do not differ. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 20, 421-430.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ptacek, J. T., Smith, R. E., Espe, K., & Raffety, B. (1994). Limited correspondence between daily coping reports and retrospective coping recall. Psychological Assessment, 6, 41-49.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ptacek, J. T., Smith, R. E., & Zanas, J. (1992). Gender, appraisal, and coping: A longitudinal analysis. Journal of Personality, 60, 747-770.

    Google Scholar 

  • Rabkin, J. G., & Struening, E. L. (1976). Life events, stress, and illness. Science, 194, 1013-1020.

    Google Scholar 

  • Rice, J., Reich, T., Andreasen, N. C., Lavori, P. W., Endicott, J., Clayton, P. J., Keller, M. B., Hirschfeld, R. M. A., & Klerman, G. L. (1984). Sex-related differences in depression: Familial evidence. Journal of Affective Disorders, 71, 199-210.

    Google Scholar 

  • Rodrigue, J. R., Boggs, S. R., Weiner, R. S., & Behen, J. M. (1993). Mood, coping style, and personality functioning among adult bone marrow transplant candidates. Psychosomatics, 34, 159-165.

    Google Scholar 

  • Rosario, M., Shinn, M., Morch, H., & Huckabee, C. B. (1988). Gender differences in coping and social supports: Testing socialization and role constraint theories. Journal of Community Psychology, 16, 55-69.

    Google Scholar 

  • Roy-Byrne, P. P., Vitaliano, P. P., Cowley, D., Luciano, G., et al. (1992). Coping in panic and major depressive disorder: Relative effects of symptom severity and diagnostic comorbidity. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 180, 179-183.

    Google Scholar 

  • Saxe, L. L., & Abramson, L. Y. (1987). The Negative Life Events Questionnaire: Reliability and validity. Unpublished manuscript.

  • Sherbourne, C. D., Hays, R. D., & Wells, K. B. (1995). Personal and psychosocial risk factors for physical and mental health outcomes and course of depression among depressed patients. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 63, 345-355.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sigmon, S. T., Stanton, A. L., & Snyder, C. R. (1995). Gender differences in coping: A further test of socialization and role constraint theories. Sex Roles, 33, 565-587.

    Google Scholar 

  • Silverstein, B., & Perlick, D. (1991). Gender differences in depression: Historical changes. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 84, 327-331.

    Google Scholar 

  • Smith, R. E., Smoll, F. L., & Ptascek, J. T. (1990). Conjunctive moderator variables in vulnerability and resiliency research: Life stress, social support and coping skills, and adolescent sport injuries. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 58, 360-370.

    Google Scholar 

  • Stanton, A. L., Danoff-Burg, S., Cameron, C. L., & Ellis, A. P. (1994). Coping through emotional approach: Problems of conceptualization and confounding. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 66, 350-362.

    Google Scholar 

  • Stone, A. A., & Neale, J. M. (1984). New measure of daily coping: Development and preliminary results. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 46, 892-906.

    Google Scholar 

  • Suls, J., & Fletcher, B. (1985). The relative efficacy of avoidant and nonavoidant coping strategies: A metaanalysis. Health Psychology, 4, 249-288.

    Google Scholar 

  • Swindle, R. W., Jr., Cronkite, R. C., & Moos, R. H. (1989). Life stressors, social resources, coping, and the 4-year course of unipolar depression. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 98, 468-477.

    Google Scholar 

  • Timko, C., Stovel, K. W., & Moos, R. H. (1992). Functioning among mothers and fathers of children with juvenile rheumatic disease: A longitudinal study. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 17, 705-724.

    Google Scholar 

  • Towbes, L. C., Cohen, L. H., & Glyshaw, K. (1989). Instrumentality as a life-stress moderator for early versus middle adolescents. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 57, 109-119.

    Google Scholar 

  • Trocki, K. F., & Orioli, E. M. (1994). Gender differences in stress symptoms, stress-producing contexts, and coping strategies. In J. J. Hurrell, Jr., (Ed.), Job stress in a changing workforce: Investigating gender, diversity, and family issues (pp. 7-22). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

    Google Scholar 

  • Vingerhoets, A. J. M., & Van Heck, G. L. (1990). Gender, coping and psychosomatic symptoms. Psychological Medicine, 20, 125-135.

    Google Scholar 

  • Vredenburg, K., Flett, G. L., & Krames, L. (1993). Analogue versus clinical depression: A critical appraisal. Psychological Bulletin, 113, 327-344.

    Google Scholar 

  • Weissman, M. M., Bland, R., Joyce, P. R., Newman, S., Wells, J. E., & Witchen, H.-U. (1993). Sex differences in rates of depression: Cross-national perspectives. Journal of Affective Disorders, 29, 77-84.

    Google Scholar 

  • Weissman, M. M., & Klerman, G. L. (1977). Sex differences in the epidemiology of depression. Archives of General Psychiatry, 34, 98-111.

    Google Scholar 

  • Wills, T. A. (1997). Modes and families of coping: An analysis of downward comparison in the structure of other cognitive and behavioral mechanisms. In B. P. Buunk & F. X. Gibbons (Eds.), Health, coping, and well-being: Perspectives from social comparison theory. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

    Google Scholar 

  • Wilson, R., & Cairns, E. (1988). Sex-role attributes, perceived competence and the development of depression in adolescence. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 29, 635-650.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Blalock, J.A., Joiner, T.E. Interaction of Cognitive Avoidance Coping and Stress in Predicting Depression/Anxiety. Cognitive Therapy and Research 24, 47–65 (2000). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1005450908245

Download citation

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1005450908245

  • gender
  • coping
  • stress
  • depression
  • anxiety